Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich
Thinking; its relation to nature; the concept of the world; philosophical method. I am interested in these topics in general, but in my dissertation I am looking at what Kant and Hegel have to say about them.
PHIL 29200-02/29300-02 Junior/Senior Tutorial
Topic: The Development of the Mechanistic World-View
In this seminar, we will investigate the development of the mechanistic form of explanation – a crucial strand of the scientific revolution that profoundly shaped and still shapes how human beings see the world. This involves looking at how the mechanistic form of explanation was spelled out in René Descartes and tracing the problems with that and attempts at solutions in thinkers like Robert Boyle, Margaret Cavendish, John Locke, Damaris Cudworth, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, Anne Conway, Isaac Newton and Immanuel Kant.
Besides getting to know how the mentioned philosophers thought about a central philosophical issue and seeing how problems in philosophy arise and are attempted to get solved, I want to mention two further points of focus of this seminar. One of these will be on the notion of explanation. That is, on the question when we consider to have explained something and when not. This is pertinent in e.g. the issue of whether the concept present in Newton of action-at-a-distance allows for understanding or not. This goes hand in hand with the question when a philosophical account of a phenomenon has been given and when not.
Another focus will be on the issue of conceptual change. For one, whether and if so how the concept of mechanism and concepts like inertia or force changed when discussed by a later thinker treated in this seminar. Understanding these issues is also important for trying to understanding the larger question of how the human conception of the world changed with the scientific revolution.
Meets with Jr/Sr section. Intensive-Track Majors should reach out to the instructor to be enrolled manually. No more than two tutorials may be used to meet program requirements.